But this thing, up there in the title, that's how it is spelled on the box.
The brand is called Im;BEAUTY, and the product we are going to talk about today is Cloud 9 Whitening Anti-Aging Cream.
We haven't even started yet and things are already getting complicated.
You see, there are actually TWO different products called Cloud 9 made by TWO different companies.
Cloud 9 is made by a company called Claire's (no relation to the worldwide accessories retailer with the same name) and by another company called Im;BEAUTY.
This is the same feud that you might be familiar with regarding the famous Guerisson 9 Complex Cream (horse oil cream). Both Claire's and Im;BEAUTY make this cream. You can read more about it in the excellent Guerisson review by Skin and Tonics - link.
The situation is the same with the Cloud 9 line.
Take a look.
Im;BEAUTY Cloud line:
And Claire's Cloud line:
Complicated? Only a little.
I got my Im;BEAUTY Cloud 9 Whitening Anti-Aging Cream while flying Air China earlier this year.
I was bored out of my mind, the flight was packed, kids were screaming, the toilet stank to high heavens (unfortunately I was sitting right next to the toilet, I didn't mind though, it was a two day delay due to smog and I was ready to sit on the floor in the middle of the aisle just to be able to get out of China) and the fat man next to me kept burping and farting. Oh, and the in-flight entertainment system wasn't working.
I decided to entertain myself and started reading out loud the duty-free catalog. And then translating the entries, also out loud, into any and all languages familiar to me.
About half way through the catalog I realized that:
- a. my seatmates and flight attendants were ready to murder me in cold blood, and
- b. I still had some Chinese money left over that I should spend ASAP.
I wasn't afraid of an angry burping fat man, or some skinny women in heels. I survived a medical emergency in North Korea and lived to see another day.
Ever had the pleasure of getting an IV inserted into your hand in the middle of the night while sitting on a toilet and violently vomiting into a bucket at the same time? Sounds bad, right? Now imagine the same situation in North Korea. At least it was a sit-down toilet and not a squatter...
The needle and the equipment were disposable and brand new, but band aids (plasters) were in short supply. Hence the scotch tape on my hand.
Murderous flight attendants were not going to scare me one bit. I continued being a retard and reading the duty-free catalog out loud. For more fun, this time backwards.
I got to the page with Cloud 9 and suddenly stopped.
I remembered this cream. Once upon a time it was raved about on blogs and instanets. I even considered getting it a couple of years ago but the Im;BEAUTY versus Claire's situation quite successfully discouraged me back then.
And here it was. In the in-flight catalog. For a few Chinese yuan. Duty-free.
I hailed one of the skinny women in heels and placed my order.
This is what I got.
The box sat untouched by human hands until April when I finally got around to opening it and investigating the contents.
Cloud 9 (both variants) seem to be very popular in South East Asia and over there it gets glowing reviews and is highly praised for its magical whitening properties.
I knew I was in trouble the minute I saw these signs:
Good products don't need such endorsements. Good products are good and everybody knows it. Pretty signs of approval can be bought and are totally meaningless.
Personally, I don't give a shit about Korea Model Association Certification, because let's face it, models are models precisely because they don't NEED whitening creams.
And The Korea Film Actor's (again, a misplaced apostrophe) Association endorsement?
Here, I immediately knew this cream was going to be garbage. Why? Take a look at any Korean actress and her face. Ghostly white casts to appear whiter than white seem to be the permanent hip trend.
I expected junk and I wasn't disappointed.
But in all fairness, this junk came very impressively packaged.
Inside a huge sturdy box there was a kitschy plastic jar, along with a plastic spatula and a leaflet in Korean and Chinese.
The jar holds 50 grams of cream. There was a manufacturing date printed on the bottom, but I forgot to take a photo.
Up until now everything looks pretty much standard, doesn't it?
Then, what about the name? Why Cloud? And why is it important?
You see, according to the manufacturer, the cream is supposed to resemble a cloud. Though personally, I thought it looked like rancid cottage cheese.
If it was rotten cottage cheese, I'd flush it down the toilet and recycle the package.
But no. Instead of cheese, I got here Im;BEAUTY Cloud 9 Whitening Anti-Aging Cream in all of its curdled glory.
Yes, this cream is supposed to look like that. I knew to expect that so I wasn't overly surprised. This is its namesake "cloud" texture and consistency.
According to the manufacturer, this cream is supposed to be your standard issue Korean skincare miracle worker. It's supposed to: brighten, whiten, diminish freckles, protect from UV rays, lift, hydrate, erase wrinkles, improve elasticity, give orgasms, do the dishes and solve math problems for your school age children's homework.
Did it do any of them?
Hmmm... I decided to test it on my hands, because gods know my hands need some whitening and anti-aging care.
Picking the stuff out of the jar was hard. The pieces kept breaking up and refused to cooperate.
A spoonful of old yogurt? Or a chunk of soft tofu?
Honestly, it doesn't really make that much of a difference. I suppose if I rubbed tofu on my skin the effects would be pretty much the same.
Meaning, none at all. But at least with tofu or yogurt I could lick my hand if I suddenly got hungry.
So, does this Im;BEAUTY Cloud 9 Whitening Anti-Aging Cream do anything at all?
Oh yes, it does.
It gives you the mother of all white casts.
The company does promise "instant" whitening, and they didn't lie. You will get a ghostly, white, chalky cast that will last until you either rub it off (your hands), or wash it off (your face, if you're brave enough to actually put this thing on your face).
Despite the wonky color in this photo, my skin is actually quite pale, yet you can STILL see the cast.
This is the "instant" result, but were there any long-term effects?
Any actual brightening? Fading of freckles? Anti-aging effect?
Zero. Zip. Zilch. Nada.
After a month and a half of using this rotten cottage cheese abomination, my hands are still as nasty as they used to be. I purposely chose to slather it on my left hand, because that's where the freckles are. And they are as visible now as they were a month ago.
Now, let's talk about the ingredients.
Despite internet claims by bloggers (who apparently didn't bother to look closely) that Cloud 9 creams made by Im;BEAUTY and Claire's are identical, they are not.
They are actually quite different.
You can find several different ingredient lists for Claire's Cloud 9 Whitening Cream. The ingredient order there looks to be arranged according to the Korean specifications.
Im;BEAUTY Cloud 9 Cream seems to follow no particular standard of listing the ingredients. I'd like to believe that it adheres to the internationally (Japan, USA, EU, Canada) followed rules where the ingredients are listed in the descending order of weight.
But since Im;BEAUTY Cloud 9 Whitening Anti-Aging Cream is a Korean product, you can't ever be sure.
As I couldn't find anything that looked vaguely plausible on the internet, I just translated what was printed on the box.
"Cherry" confused me, because I couldn't figure out what type of cherry it was supposed to be.
Anyway, here they are.
Im;BEAUTY Cloud 9 Whitening Anti-Aging Cream ingredients:
Water, Butylene Glycol, Cyclopentasiloxane, Titanium Dioxide, Cyclohexasiloxane, Glycerin, Niacinamide, Sodium Acrylate/Sodium Acryloyldimethyl Taurate Copolymer, Magnolia Liliiflora Phytoplacenta Extract, Cherry Phytoplacenta Culture Extract, Adenosine, Bellis Perennis (Daisy) Flower Extract, Lilium Candidum Flower Extract, Eucalyptus Extract, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Extract, Leontopodium Alpinum (Edelweiss) Flower Extract, Nelumbo Nucifera (Indian Lotus) Flower Extract, Nelumbo Nucifera Callus Culture Extract, Freesia Refracta Extract, Saussurea Involucrata Extract, Houttuynia Cordata Extract, Panax Ginseng Root Extract, Sodium Hyaluronate, Dipropylene Glycol, Phenoxyethanol, Isohexadecane, Caprylyl Glycol, Stearic Acid, Aluminum Hydroxide, Potassium Cetyl Phosphate, Polysorbate 80, Glyceryl Caprate, Ethylhexylglycerin, 1,2-Hexanediol, Fragrance
So there you have it. The dud known as Im;BEAUTY Cloud 9 Whitening Anti-Aging Cream.
If you feel the burning need to have it, or suffer from an acute excess of money, you can purchase it from IBBI - non affiliate link here.
Im;BEAUTY Cloud 9 Whitening Anti-Aging Cream is a perfect example of why I am so over Korean cosmetics. The cheap ones are major fails and not worth the money. The wins are mostly pricey but if I'm going to spend that much, I'd expect my skincare products to work. And if I'm going to spend that much money, I might as well buy local, Japanese stuff.